Field, habitus, and economic reason: Prospects of conceptualizing economic action

TitreField, habitus, and economic reason: Prospects of conceptualizing economic action
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuteursHanappi, D
JournalLIVES Working Papers
Place PublishedLausanne
Type of ArticleResearch paper
Mots-cléseconomic man, economic sociology, embeddedness, preferences, self-interest, symbolic interaction

The limitations of rationality in economic action have stimulated sociological approaches to the economy as positive critiques of orthodox economics. This paper contributes to design a view of the social basis of economic action under uncertainty. Starting out from some critique of the rational actor model, and informed by the embeddedness tradition, the article proposes a field and habitus approach to economic action. Bringing the complex elements of field and habitus to the center of attention helps in examining how cognitive acts matter for economic reason, but remain obscure in orthodox economic models. The simultaneous inclusion of the field and habitus concept and the emphasis on cognitive acts are applied to signaling decisions. This helps explain how economic action is shaped by resources in a way well suited to economic reason and thereby contributes to an understanding of the social dynamics of markets.